The adverse effects of loneliness versus the adverse effects of social isolation

It’s said that loneliness has an adverse effect on mental and physical health , but what about social isolation that may or may not involve feelings of loneliness?

I’ve always been quite asocial , and although less socially isolated due to the nearness of my stepfamily still have a smaller than average social network. I get bored with my own company at times rather than feeling particularly lonely

I would say that both can impact on well being. I was certainly functioning less well when more socially isolated even though feelings of loneliness weren’t that strong.

Opinions/thoughts/views welcomed.

I know a lady who is isolated. I see her once or twice a year (she’s a neighbor). The thing is, her behavior is really strange and I think it’s because she’s never around anyone. I don’t know if it’s bad for her but I do know that now that she’s become so strange acting if she wants friends she’ll have a hard time making them.


People with schizoid personality disorder, who usually prefer to be alone and have few if any friends, do not seem to suffer much because of this. I don’t think social isolation on its own is harmful to mental health. For some it’s just who they are and how they prefer to live.

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Critics argue that the definition of SPD is flawed due to cultural bias and that it does not constitute a mental disorder but simply an avoidant attachment style requiring more distant emotional proximity.[10][11] If that is true, then many of the more problematic reactions these individuals show in social situations may be partly accounted for by the judgments commonly imposed on people with this style. However, impairment is mandatory for any behaviour to be diagnosed as a personality disorder. SPD seems to satisfy this criterion because it is linked to negative outcomes. These include a significantly compromised quality of life, reduced overall functioning even after 15 years, and one of the lowest levels of “life success” of all personality disorders (measured as “status, wealth, and successful relationships”).[12][13][14] Symptoms of SPD are also a risk factor for more severe suicidal behaviour.[15]

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You have to remember that there are many more symptoms to schizoid PD than social isolation. When you ask them, many will say that the social isolation itself is not a problem and that they both enjoy and prefer being alone. I’m of course aware that schizoid PD involves negative outcomes and personal suffering, but that is besides my point.

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Yes, I’m aware of that. I was thinking generally about schizoid pd as you had chosen to mention it. I think we also have to consider whether what we enjoy and prefer is always completely healthy for us.

Cool. Not really relevant, though.

It’s a matter of debate as to what’s relevant :slight_smile:

Or you’re just needlessly argumentative and incapable of saying anything wrong. But whatever. I still think social isolation on its own is not always a problem.

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I am as capable as saying something wrong and being argumentative as you are , given we are both human and intellectually evenly matched

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I 'd agree it’s not always a problem , but that’s different from it never being a problem. That would depend on factors running alongside the social isolation.

Ha ha some people love to debate anything. My dad does it a lot but I’m pretty aware when he is trying to bait me into a heated debate :smile:.

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I don’t think I am lonely, but I probably am. I go about my day but I think there should be more.

I do not have much contact with my family. They do not understand what I am going through and get upset when I do not call often enough.

I go about my day but am always devising some way to start a group this or that.

I do OK at work as it is just general interaction with the small community I work in A few regulars at the restauarant. Sometimes it is to much but lately I have been chill.

But yes for me social isolation. I dont’ want to go out to dinner or bars just start a meditaion group or self help group of some kind. Help myself while helping others.

Ready for a little more in my life. But how.

Thank you.

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I test high on schizoid personality tests and I am very socially isolated but, I do not feel lonely. I am also quite strange and eccentric and have a hard time making and keeping friends.

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Your strongest side says to be alone and you want a strongest side. But what about your more sensitive side that is lonely and wants a little interaction once in a while. To be complete and well rounded one needs to administer to the whole person. Don’t be stubborn and say that you don’t want it or need people on some level we all do. But are you gonna fight and put it down every time. It could be hurting you as there is enrichment in others opinions and joys. @firemonkey

Even as a child I wasn’t a great one for interacting with others. I get bored with my own company sometimes , but don’t experience the gut wrenching loneliness that some do.

I don’t dispute that in terms of coping I need people. That’s been proven by how I was functioning in Essex , and how I’m doing here in Wiltshire.
However stepfamily provides that , along with feeling close to them. I’m not champing at the bit to extend my social horizon .

I did try a group supposedly for those with mental health problems at my local library , which is a stone’s throw away. It was very difficult to initiate conversation and when I replied to anything it fell flat like a lead balloon. The person running it even made a sarky comment because I gave a £ to the coffee and tea fund. I felt uncomfortable and couldn’t face going to it again.

These topics always remind me of my time in solitary. It really taught me the value of social interaction, having it stripped from me like that. At least I fared better than the Rhesus monkeys in the isolation experiments I’ve read about. I think the monkeys might lack the understanding that they’ll be out of those cells at some point (something a human could figure out).

I’m sure it’s harder for people on the spectrum, but I don’t think it necessarily counts them out. I saw the first season of this show called Atypical about an autistic high schooler, a girl who had a crush on him starts dating him and takes into account all his mannerisms (many of which she finds honest and endearing) and tries to adapt so they can get along better. It really shows the character shine socially through the support of his family members and friends.

I personally love to socialize, and I miss joyriding with my high school friends most of all. Those were good memories.

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